When we tested the Gocycle electric bike, we stripped it down to take a good look inside. When we put it back together, we rode it without the motor or battery and discovered it was quite a handy little bike even without the electric assistance (the drop in weight was nice too).
The team at Gocycle were pleased to hear that without all the electrics they still had a good bike, and decided to work on a motor-less version. Enter the Gocycle Black – and no, it’s not just a Gocycle painted black.
There are a number of changes, but the most instantly obvious is weight loss of 4.1kg, and the geometry. Although the wheelbase and the bottom bracket height have remained the same (1065mm and 285mm respectively), the head and seat tube angles have both been steepened up by 2º, to 72º and 70º respectively.
We were really impressed by the electric Gocycle’s stable and predictable handling. The Gocycle Black Edition, with its steeper head angle, is a little more exciting to ride, though – the steering is quick and nimble and the Black begs you to throw it around.
The white electric Gocycle is certainly distinctive in appearance – even though we’ve tested it seeing one in the wild still causes us to turn our heads. The Black is more understated, so a good option for those who want something stylish, different but not too in-yer-face. You do only get three gears, so it’s deﬁnitely only a discerning about town runabout.
That you can ﬁx a puncture without removing a wheel is a real bonus but servicing of the drivetrain still involves removing the whole swingarm assembly in order to access the bolts to split the two parts that make it whole. But seeing as this kind of servicing isn’t going to happen very often, and you’ll want to do the bottom bracket and swingarm pivot assemblies at the same time, it’s really not that much of a bother.
Although the Gocycle is ‘demountable’ and can be taken apart and carried in its own case this is no Brompton or Dahon-style folder ﬁt for the train. Taking it apart takes practice and is never a truly speedy operation. And of course, you’re unlikely to have the hard case with you at the station.
At nearly a grand the Black isn’t as attractive an option as its powered stablemate and although we like the way it rides, we aren’t keen on the standard pedals which don’t offer a great deal of grip, and the foam handlebar grips don’t feel as if they’ll last. And although the Velo D2 saddle is wonderfully comfortable, it’s also very heavy.
More gears, better grips, a lighter saddle, grippier pedals and wider handlebar would set the Black Edition apart from the standard Gocycle. As it is, it’s a lot of fun to ride, but the electric version makes more sense.